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Stuttering with 9800GTX

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 5, 2010 1:58:27 PM

I have a strange problem with graphics on my computer.

In some games I get terrible graphics and audio stutter, which makes them nearly unplayable. The strange thing about it is, that it only happens after my computer has been running for some time. If I run a game as soon as the PC starts, then no stuttering ever appears, even If I play the game for several hours. Once the game is running it usually work perfectly for as long as I play. As soon as I work on something else for half an hour or so, or even just leave the PC completely alone for some time before starting the game (or after exiting the game I first ran when I turned the PC on), the game will stutter terribly when I run it again later. The only thing that solves this is a reset.

This doesn't affect all games; games like Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2, Risen get it, while Pro Evolution Soccer 2010, GTA4 or Test Drive Unlimited don't. A similar thing affects HD fullscreen video, but only if I have something refreshing in the background (like progress bars in utorrent); If I minimize the refreshing program everything works fine. This happens even on a fresh install of the system.

My configuration is:
Windows 7 x64
Core 2 Duo E8400
Asus P5K-E Wi-fi
Geforce 9800GTX
Creative X-Fi Music

I have excluded the possibility of overheating or faulty hardware for obvious reasons, and suspect it's something to do with the drivers (though I've had no success with various newer/older/customized drivers yet) or some kind of device conflict.

Can someone offer any advice on how to at least diagnose what's causing the problem, or perhaps even fix it?
Thank you!

More about : stuttering 9800gtx

February 5, 2010 2:05:20 PM

Often stuttering (as opposed to extened periods of lowered FPS) can be sourced to a shortage of system memory, video card memory, or a combination of both. You don't mention how much Ram you have in your computer, or the resolution that you are playing at, so it can be hard to say.

Give us some more info:
-System memory
-Monitor resolution
-PSU brand and power rating

You may also want to try removing your sound card and running it from the onboard sound, purely for the sake of diagnosis. If the problem persists without the sound card installed, you can be pretty sure that it isn't the source of your issues, driver-related or otherwise.
February 5, 2010 2:42:06 PM

Thank you, will try removing the sound card, I'll report what happens!

I have 4GB of RAM and run games at 1920x1200, but stuttering occurs even at lower resolutions. The PSU is a 550W LC Power, not top of the line, but not that crappy either.
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February 5, 2010 4:12:48 PM

Is your 9800GTX a 512mb model? I searched newegg, and the only ones available now are 512mb, and am not familiar enough with the model to know if it ever offered 1gb versions.

Are you running your games at the native resolution? If so, the stutter could be caused by running resolutions + settings that are too high for your available memory. I have a 4870 512mb card, and I get stutter if I try to run 1920x1080 with too high of graphics settings and AA.

Try running the same settings at lower resolutions (like 1440x900, or even 1280x720) if only to see if the stutter persists.
February 7, 2010 10:39:47 AM

It is indeed a 512mb model.

I tried removing the sound card, but the stuttering is still there.

While running the games at a lower resolution makes the problem less apparent, it is still there, and even at 800x600 the games perform noticeably worse if run later than at 1920x1200 if I start them immediately after startup.

I don't think it's the lack of memory anyway, since the games always perform perfectly if I run them early, and continue working without problems for as much time as I want (as long as I don't exit the game and run it again later).
I've had the lack of memory stutter (in GTAIV, if I set the graphics to max), and this isn't anything like that. The game doesn't seem to have problems loading 3D objects or anything, it's just this semi-random really choppy and fast stutter. It does seem to get worse when there is more going on on the screen, but it's there even if the camera is pointing to the floor or a wall.
February 24, 2010 4:00:50 AM

Actually I am sitting on a:
E8400 @3.6 GHz
4GB RAM (800MHz)
9800GTX (XFX, stock)
780i (EVGA)
I was having serious problems on Windows XP then I switched to Win 7 and games seem to work much better. But I still don't understand why I get low frame-rates at times. I am mostly referring to Dragon Age. I monitor all my temps and system seems to work fine in that category. The strange thing - I can stick my resolution to 1650x1050 or 1024x800 - I will still get the same minor problems. These aren't urgent, as the game is completely playable but can be inconvenient at times. I played through the game on a XPx64 and haven't had a single problem. The way I'm seeing this from a programmer's perspective is that the game is just poorly coded at some parts for certain operation systems.
Since I'm running a Win 7 x64 system now - and you are too - I was wondering if you found a solution to the frame-rate problems. Or possibly the 9800GTX is just out of style now.
May 21, 2010 10:33:08 AM

I just got a PNY GeForce 9800GTX+ 512MB and get stuttering in Assassin's Creed 2. With the same video drivers and exact same system, and a EVGA GeForce 8600GTS 512MB I don't get the stuttering. It doesn't matter if I use the 6-pin supplemental power cable or 6-pin-to-4-pin Molex 8981 Y adaptor (but plugging 2 4-pin Molex 8981 connectors into the Y adaptor reduces the stuttering a but, compared to only 1 Molex 8981 connector).

Pentium D 820 (2.8GHz)
Gigabyte 8I945P-G
4GB DDR2 400MHz dual-channel
Antec 550W power supply
May 21, 2010 10:54:23 AM

Hmm, 3 people, same card, similar issue.

What drivers are you all using? The latest ones? Can you remember if/when you were not having issues?

It sounds to me that the drivers for the 9XXX series have a problem which has resulted in stuttering in some situations.

If you remember when you did not have issues with the card I suggest going back to the drivers you were using at the time. If the card was giving issues ever since you used it, then again I would suggest finding different drivers to install (if you look online you can often find people recommending certain drivers to use rather than latest ones)

I know my 8800GTX a while back was running fine, I updated my drivers and then when playing Left 4 Dead 2 I got terrible stuttering - it would not happen on all games. I found older drivers that others seemed to recommend and installed them, the stuttering went away
May 21, 2010 11:52:04 AM

asteldian said:
Hmm, 3 people, same card, similar issue.

What drivers are you all using? The latest ones? Can you remember if/when you were not having issues?

It sounds to me that the drivers for the 9XXX series have a problem which has resulted in stuttering in some situations.

If you remember when you did not have issues with the card I suggest going back to the drivers you were using at the time. If the card was giving issues ever since you used it, then again I would suggest finding different drivers to install (if you look online you can often find people recommending certain drivers to use rather than latest ones)

I know my 8800GTX a while back was running fine, I updated my drivers and then when playing Left 4 Dead 2 I got terrible stuttering - it would not happen on all games. I found older drivers that others seemed to recommend and installed them, the stuttering went away
I have Forceware 197.45 now (latest as of this post) but the stuttering happened with the drivers I had installed with the EVGA 8600GTS so I don't think it's a driver issue (at least not with the 8600GTS anyway but could be a problem with the 9800GTX+; and I really don't feel like going driver downgrade hopping to try and find a version that doesn't have this stuttering problem). Is there a way to tell the previous Forceware drivers? Otherwise, I believe it was 196.21, according to the latest in my driver "hold" directory.
!